WENATCHEE — The city of Wenatchee would only consider condemning land to make way for a new fire station “as a last resort,” said Mayor Dennis Johnson.
“That’s just not something we would want to impose on people if we could find any other way to go,” Johnson said Wednesday.
Two property owners in the Springwater and Princeton area, where the new station would be built, said this week that they do not want to sell. Their comments were in response to a statement made by Brett Hamilton, a spokesman for the committee promoting a bond to finance a new station. Hamilton said in a Page A1 story in Monday’s Wenatchee World that landowners at the proposed site, where now sit houses and duplexes, have all agreed to sell so no one will be forced to sell against their will.
That was incorrect, according to Johnson and Mark Yaple, fire marshal with the Wenatchee Fire Department. A year ago, the committee sent out and received back letters of intent from all the property owners but no one was legally bound by those. And this year, letters of intent went out again to the 10 or 11 property owners but, Yaple said, he does not have the results. Chief Stan Smoke has them but he is out of the office until Monday.
If landowners opt not to sell, Johnson said, the city would negotiate with them, then would consider where the contested land sits on the property. Buildings on the periphery, for example, might be left in place until the property owners decide the time is right to sell.
The two property owners who have said they do not want to sell are Bruce Richardson and Rob Olson. The pieces of property are next to each other on an end of the proposed site next to the Target store, Olson said.
Key to construction of a new fire station is passage in the general election of an $11.7 million bond issue. The new station would become the main fire station, allowing the existing station, built in 1929, to become an auxiliary facility.
Dee Riggs: 664-7147